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May 21, 2018

Heathrow Hub demands changes to airport expansion legislation to include extended runway

  • Heathrow Hub submits redrafted National Policy Statement
  • Extended runway is quicker to build and cheaper for passengers and airlines
  • Heathrow Hub advised by DAC Beachcroft on airport expansion process

Heathrow Hub has submitted amended draft legislation to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, so that its Extended Northern Runway (ENR) proposal can be implemented instead of Heathrow Airport’s 3rd Runway.

The ENR scheme is cheaper, simpler and quieter than Heathrow Airport’s 3rd Runway plan. It can also be built in phases. Phase 1, costing only £3.9bn and delivering 70,000 additional aircraft movements annually, would begin operations as soon as 2026, at least four years ahead of Heathrow Airport’s North West Runway (NWR).

Lawyers at City of London firm DAC Beachcroft LLP, advising Heathrow Hub, have drafted suggested amendments to the National Policy Statement (NPS), due to be considered by Parliament in the summer. Rather than only including Heathrow Airport's proposal, which poses a serious risk for the Government's desire to increase capacity at Heathrow as soon as possible, the NPS has been revised to include the ENR.

The redrafted legislation responds to the recent report by the Transport Select Committee which proposed numerous conditions on Parliament approving expansion at Heathrow, including in relation to costs, the environment and the M25. Given the numerous flaws in Heathrow Airport’s 3rd Runway plan, there is a serious risk it will now be delayed further.

If expansion is approved by Parliament, at a vote expected this summer, it will proceed to the Development Consent Order process. The Transport Select Committee said that the scheme would need to be tested at this stage by the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that it was affordable and financeable. Heathrow Hub contends that since the complex, risky and expensive 3rd Runway plan – costing at least £14bn - will inevitably fail this test, it has no realistic prospect of being delivered.

The 3rd Runway will result in passenger charges potentially doubling to over £40, hitting consumers and airlines and, as Heathrow is already the most expensive airport in the world, this would damage the UK’s competitiveness. By contrast, the cheaper Extended Northern Runway would have no impact on charges.

Jock Lowe, director of Heathrow Hub, said: “Our extended northern runway proposal is cheaper, simpler and quicker to build than Heathrow’s complicated and expensive 3rd Runway scheme. Even at this stage, it would actually save time and money to adopt our scheme instead.

“Heathrow Airport still has no idea how it is going to get its 3rd Runway over the M25.“Mr Grayling is on record as saying the main reason our scheme has not been chosen thus far is that Heathrow Airport refused to say it would implement it. It is outrageous that Heathrow Airport should have abused its position by vetoing our scheme, which was deemed viable and deliverable by the Airports Commission.

“Among the extended runway’s advantages are that it won’t cause years of delays on the M25; it can be built quicker and in phases; it is quieter; and it destroys fewer houses. Given our ongoing dialogue with all political parties, we are also confident it would win widespread support in Parliament.

“The Department for Transport has run a flawed process and I appeal to Mr Grayling to see sense and to accept our amendments, so this important piece of national infrastructure can at last be delivered quickly and cheaply.”